The ambitious scheme follows a move by the French to cash in on the London Olympics by rebranding their region ‘part of Britain’.
The ploy has helped them land contracts with a string of foreign teams to train in France ahead of the 2012 Games.
Boulogne and Calais now claim that the Britain no longer stops at the white cliffs of Dover.
‘I consider that we are the south of England,’ said Mr Dupilet. ‘And because we're the south of England it's normal that we would associate ourselves with this extraordinary event.’
Eh. This is putting pragmatism ahead of patriotism. Most unusual.
Mr Dupilet said people who wanted a comfortable commute to London would be far better off basing themselves in northern France than in other parts of Britain.
That is key, and I'm surprised that it's taken this long to get going. As (I think) Léon said 5 years ago, it's not 1h15 from Calais to London, and 1h15 back, it's only a 15 minute commute to London, thanks to the timezone difference. Which would really help the lifestyle. And it ties up with something Pierre Denis said. If your job allows you to live anywhere in France, you'll choose the south. Even 3% of the population being able to do this has started to massively skew property prices there. Whereas the south east of England is and has long been desirable as a location for those who commute to London, so there's no new skew as location unconstrained people increase.
Result - Kent is crowded and expensive. However, the Pas de Calias is much emptier, and much less expensive. All it needs is a commuter service. And of course:
‘Who wants to go to Birmingham?’ he said. ‘In the Pas-de-Calais the French lifestyle is better. And as for the food over there, well, forget it.’
From the Daily Fail, but not the usual fayre. And if you're wondering about my choice of subject:
England ruled Calais for more than 200 years after being besieged and captured by Edward III in 1347.